Friday, February 26, 2010
Overstock, SmartBargains, Borders, Zappos and LandsEnd; to name a few. Normally I just hit 'delete' and away it goes. Zap. Incinerated into the spam abyss.
Granted, these e-mails more than once have led me to a fantastic deal or two. But most times it's not.
So the delete key and my pointer finger have become quite well acquainted.
But this one caught my eye. The marketing guys done did good.
Marketing: 3 Delete Button: 10,942
$35 covers a complete meal, including tip and mini-spa night with gift from Aveda. Targeting the female audience for a girls night out, the restaurant holds this gig every third Monday of the month. Monday nights must be hurting for biz.
So looking for some compatriots to indulge, I forwarded the spam to some of my local friends. See if anyone else was intrigued with the idea of pampered 'me' time. No children. No spouses or significant others. Just the gals.
Sounds fun, doesn't it? It was. It was grand.
As we sat a talked between courses, and libations to accompany, I realized how wonderful my circle of friends were. Melissa on my right and Eileen on my left, I felt blessed...no, honoured to be in their presence. They both never cease to amaze me in their awesomness. Who knew Melissa could speak Russian? I felt like Jamie Lee Curtis in a 'Fish called Wanda'...well, almost. But it definitely strengthened my 'girl crush' that's for sure. Eileen is self deprecating, but she shouldn't be. I could listen to her for hours. She, for some reason, has no idea how fabulous she really is.
In my household we've begun experiencing the first, and I'm sure not the last, of female drama with my daughter and a few of her school mates. At eleven, she hasn't had much exposure to what can be the worst of female traits. Cattiness.
She has a 'friend' that one day is her best friend and the next doesn't want her to sit at the lunch table with the rest of the girls. It's horrible. And it's mean. We've had long discussions about the true meaning of friendship. That 'it's not how many people you know, or how popular you are, but the quality of your friends that matters most.' She had an opportunity then to express her friend loyalty and chose to sit with a girl, at another table, that had been deemed unworthy to sit with the rest.
I'm so proud of her.
I'm not good friends with many of the people that I've encountered over the years. I didn't maintain contact. There's a handful here and there, but not many I'd call close. I have acquaintances that know so many people, it's confusing. I wouldn't be able to remember everyone. That's not my bag. I like my close circle of friends. My bubble. Only so many can fit in here at a time. Those are the ones that I count on.
I'll continue to keep my circle tight. I like it that way.
A cohort of mine was filling me in on the latest of her wedding plans over lunch one afternoon, "I've got to cut back the guest list to 400! That's all the hall will comfortably hold." she informed me.
She's been planning her wedding it seems like for a year. Actually, it's probably longer than that. She was planning this event even before she knew her spouse to be. Every little detail is nailed down. Bridezilla? That description fits. God help anyone who's responsible for any detail of her 'most special day'.
My mind was spinning. 400? Seriously? I don't think I even know 400 people. Let alone 400 people with whom I'd want to share my wedding with. But then, this girl has over a 1000 'friends' on Facebook. I like her...but we obviously are so completely different, on so many levels, we probably shouldn't even be friends.
I offer, "Well, please...don't worry about me. You can give my invitation to someone else. Just make sure to save me a piece of cake."
"Oh, Nancy! That's what I love about you!", she gushed, giving me air-kisses across the table.
That sealed it. We really, really shouldn't even know one another let alone be having lunch together. What she doesn't know is that when and if the invitation did arrive, I'd mysteriously have had other plans that I 'simply forgot about but can't get out of...'. Yeah, 'Happy for You!' I am, but I'd much rather just send a gift.
I didn't have the big frou-frou wedding myself. We got married on the beach at sunset at our favorite spot to getaway. My daughter is named after that island as well. My then boyfriend had asked me, "When's your next weekend off?"
"In two weeks. The weekend before Thanksgiving." I worked as a manager in retail at the time and we were just getting geared up for a busy holiday season. No one got weekends off through Christmas.
"Do you want to get married? Go down to the island?", he asked over dessert.
I still think it was the veal. Johnny's on Fulton veal is to die for, but they did something extra to it that evening. We're out having dinner and the next I'm getting married. His proposal was unplanned. Spontaneous. I like that too.
My parents were traveling abroad and I had to wait for them to call before I could give them the news. I'll never forget what my dad said, "I admire your practicality." The ex still contends that my dad owes him $40+ for saving him the big To-Do.
But our wedding was romantic. Special. We shared our moment with just a handful of friends and family who all went down to our 'happy place' on the island. It was perfect...for me. For us. If given the opportunity to change plans, I wouldn't have done it any other way.
As I sat with my friends at dinner my mind was wandering as the conversation flitted around the room. Years ago I accompanied my ex on a week long excursion to award the high performers at his office. The destination? Costa Rica.
I was excited at the opportunity. I'd never been before and was looking forward to the experience. We planned on staying an extra week and explore the country since we were there. Lounging on a chaise, cool drink in hand, kibitzing with some of the other spouses, I soaked in the sun and my gratitude for the moment. My husband had gone for a walk with one of the firms partners.
I watched them approaching in the haze of the heat, strolling the beach nonchalantly. He waved as he drew closer. As he delivered a quick kiss and he said, "C'mon. Let's go for a swim, I've some news".
Knowing how well business had been for him of late, exceeding all their expectations, I figured this was good news. I was already mentally picking out new furniture.
"I've just quit." he continued.
"What? You what?....." I stammered, "What, pray tell, happened?"
"Yesterday, while looking around the people here that I work with...I realized I wouldn't take a bullet for any of them. So I quit."
Take a bullet.
Putting yourself in harms way to protect another.
I understood. I wouldn't have either given my limited knowledge of those at the firm I'd met over the years. No worries. The new furniture can wait. I'm sure he has his reasoning. I trusted his instinct implicitly. And admired his integrity.
It turned out to be a good move. Things were changing there and not necessarily for the best. There was a company wide shake-up with his departure. It's interesting how some things happen, without planning, that can change your life. If you listen. Are in tune. And react.
As I sat listening to these women surrounding me at the table the other night I thought, "For these ladies, I'd take a bullet." That's how fond I am and how grateful I feel to know them.
It's not the length of time that denotes a close friendship, but the quality of time spent.
I love that.
I love them.
It's good to network and know people, but it's the ones close to you that matter most.
The rest can take a number.
I've only so much time....and I have to make it count.
"As real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." ~ Walter Winchell
Friday, February 19, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I couldn't help myself. I caved.
I figure it's alright though, because isn't Valentines Day an excuse for indulging in guilty pleasures?
I've never been one to shun candy. I love me some good chocolate. Or beautiful flowers. Or extra long kisses...but I don't buy into the whole Valentine's Day "I love you so much that today and only today I'm going to show exactly how much by sending you flowers chocolates and cheesey cards" retail thang.
But I DO love guilty pleasures.
You probably have heard that the northwest got hammered again with snow. Presently, there is about 8-10 inches (and growing) of snow on the ground right outside my door and I don't even live in the snow belt. I like snow, I'm prepared for this kindof weather, so I say, "Bring It." I have a Jeep Commander that loves this stuff, I have a plowing service, a snowblower, I ski, I sled and I have a new pair of snow shoes. So c'mon Mother Nature, seriously, bring it on...
My guilty pleasure, my indulgence, stems directly from this recent snowfall.
Friday afternoon as I was sitting in my office reading my favorite blogs and I happened to hear the sound of wheels spinning. Not uncommon as our plows haven't been able to keep up, but these wheels were really spinning and it sounded rather close-by. It was also accompanied by many four letter words.
ZZZZZzzzttttt.Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzttttttt. "F*ckin' F*ck, MotherF*ck'er!"
Now, you must know at this point of the story, I live across the street from an Elementary School.
There are little kids and parents picking up said little kids everywhere. If I can hear this inside my home, up on the second floor, in my office, with the windows closed...can you imagine what it sounded like down where this was happening?
I stood up and looked out my window and what did mine eyes perceive? But my obnoxious next door neighbor completely stuck in the apron of her driveway.
Now before you go and get all, "Nancy, that's not nice to laugh at someone else's misfortune." Let me set you straight on what I've had to live with these past two years of her tenancy next door.
My neighborhood is comprised of mostly single family homes with a smattering of duplex's mixed in. The house next door is a duplex. The neighbor is question lives on the first floor. A renter. I think with a male roommate, but there are so many people coming and going, I'm not sure anymore.
They have odd hours. Coming home at 2 or 3am, leaving other days at 5am. I've but talked to them once. They pull in. They go in the house. The come out of the house, get in their car and drive away. I've been out front doing yard work when they've pulled in before and don't so much as get a wave. It's a little odd.
I'm quite tolerant. I've never created a fuss, although this does get a little old. Me thinks she could take her trash can out sometime the day or night before, not at 4am in the morning...dragging it. Making all kinds of noise clanging her bottle recyclables against the pavement all the way down the drive. Did I mention it's 4am? Yeah. Real considerate. Very neighborly.
But as I say, I'm tolerant. Plus I don't want to start a neighbor, 'I'm going to call the police' war. I can see them trying to get back at me by calling every time my dogs bark or the kids play on the trampoline. So I've been patient. And kept my mouth shut.
The other morning they arrived home and woke me from a dead slumber. The music was so loud is was as if I had turned on my own stereo in my bedroom as I slept. I turned and looked at my bedside clock. 2:04 am the damn thing glowed at me in it's ambient blue light.
I got up, wiped the sleep from my eyes and hobbled over to the window. As I peered out the back window into my neighbors driveway three levels below, the music got louder. My neighbor was doing her rendition of a soft shoe, holding a beer, in the driveway next to the drivers open door. Phish. And like most Phish or Dead songs do....it went on forever. Dancing. Soft shoe. In the driveway. 2am Weeknight.
Yes. It was a Wednesday night. Or Thursday morning, depending on how you look at it.
Her house stands between mine (complete with 11 year old daughter) and my neighbors ( two daughters 10 and 13) who both have school aged children. In the summer, although annoying, it's somewhat acceptable. I get that. Summer nights. Heavy drinking. Incoherent, unruly, inconsiderate neighbors...whatev'.
But to err in waking a sleeping child on a weeknight so you can continue your party in your driveway? Hmmmm. Not so acceptable.
They are either just too dumb and young to know that they live in a residential neighborhood. There are responsibilities that go along with living in such neighborhoods.
*We all care for our yards.
*We take out our trash.
*We try not to offend our neighbors.
Oh! They must not have gotten that memo! The one that makes them compassionate human beings? Assets to the community?
So to see her out stuck in her driveway not knowing what to do?
That was my Valentines Day present.
I enjoyed seeing her upset and flabbergasted.
A good Samaritan pulled into my freshly plowed driveway to try to help. She retrieved a shovel from her trunk and went to try to shovel the blockage from the driveway apron. "Rock the car!", she yelled to my neighbor.
"Whaaaaatttttttt?! Do whaatttttttttt?", she whined.
"ROCK the car.", the good Samaritan yelled back. "You DO know how to rock the car?"
I'm holding my head thinking....'Dear God, How dumb can this girl REALLY be?'
"Here. Let me get in.", Ms. Good Samaritan offered.
So the lady who has stopped to help this sloth out of her situation because she didn't even check the driveway and obviously has no idea to do with the shovel she's just been handed has now gotten into the drivers seat of the dumb ass girls car.
Another gentleman pulls up and in his suit and tie gets out to try to help as well.
Dumb girl stands in her pajama pants (did I mention this is 3:00pm?) and gloveless hands, holding a shovel while two strangers dig her shit out of her own driveway....I stand and watch.
And take pictures.
Valentines Day. Guilty Pleasures.
They unstuck her car. I had sooooo hoped she'd had been inconvenienced for awhile. That would've been fun. A little karmic payback.
But just like chocolates. Guilty pleasures don't last long.
Although I have photos, so I can look at those anytime I want. How fun for me.
That's almost better than chocolate.
Footnote Update: You'll all be happy to know that since my neighbors are seemingly too lazy to shovel their driveway, and not bright enough to hire someone to do it for them, she's been parking in the street. And right now, my Valentines Day bliss has doubled! The snow plows have her buried in the street. Of course, there are LARGE SIGNS posted that our street has a snow ban. Which means you don't park in the street if there is more than 2" of snow...because they WILL plow. And you WILL get buried.
Should I loan her my shovel? My snowblower?
Nope.I'm charging my video camera...
Happy Valentines Day! I hope you can enjoy a few guilty pleasures yourself!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
"Darlin', I think our 'hot chick diva' days must be over. They're hiding us in the back.", I choked while catching my breath.
Now Chrissy is gorgeous. Rain soaked or not. Me? That brisk walk around Crocker Park left my hair, once bouncy and full, plastered to my head. A little rain might make your skin look moist and youthful, but this weather wasn't achieving that result for me. I'm sure that whomever thought outdoor shopping would be fun wasn't thinking about northern Ohio's temperate climate. I don't understand why the 4 newest shopping areas have embraced this outdoor plan. If you live in Arizona, California or Georgia where the weather is mild most of the time, it's a grand idea. Up here where it's either raining, or snowing at least 6 months of the year? Maybe not so much.
The Lutheran church with the huge 'FOR SALE' sign once had a thriving school associated with it as well. Now it stands completely empty. The gorgeous Apolistic church that was located across the street from St. James is now...nothing. A fenced in lot with remnants of bricks and mortar that once housed a place of worship. A heavy metal distribution company is trying to buy yet another church for sale, but with the name Hell's Headbangers, all other business's in the area are trying to block it's purchase. They would prefer to have it razed instead.
Does any of that make sense?
Explain that to me.
I have visited many European countries over the years. My cousin was married in a chapel in northern England that was built in 832. I have family members in Hungary that live in a house that's been in the family for centuries. I've taken photographs of the Basilica of St. George and Charles Bridge in Prague. These are all phenomenal structures.